Want to know some of the lessons I’ve learned about parenting in the past 11 years? Keep reading!
I started this blog years before I became a mom. I titled it “Baby Making Machine” because I knew some day I would have kids, but didn’t know when that machine would turn on. For years I speculated and predicted what motherhood would be like, but nothing could have prepared me for what was ahead. Nothing is quite like jumping in and figuring it out from experience as you go. I’ve been a mom for over 11 years now (where has the time gone?!) and I’ve probably grown as much as my kids. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally.
Keep reading to find out the 11 lessons I’ve learned about parenting:
1. These beings have their own minds, wants and lives
I used to think that once I had children they would be like mini-mes or mini-Dads. I kept believing that for a little while because my first child and oldest daughter actually has a lot in common with me. It was easy to point to the character traits I loved and saying “she gets the from me,” and the less desirable ones of course I could say came from her Dad’s side. But a couple kids in I realized that they aren’t extensions of us. They are their own people and deserve to be treated as such. I’m not here to train them to be the best child of mine. But to help guide them as they learn to be the best version of themselves.
2. No two kids are the same
Along the lines of my first lesson, each of my kids is different. When my son came and I realized he wasn’t like my or my husband… Then my third came and she was even more different from the rest of us… I realized these are new people coming into this world with completely different personalities.
My favorite book to help break this down is called The Child Whisperer. This book describes the different energy types present in children and has been a lifesaver when learning how to respond to, acknowledge and help educate my kids.
3. Parenting isn’t as easy as I expected
Motherhood is much harder than I had ever anticipated. I’m pretty sure in my dusty archives there are some embarrassing posts about what I predicted motherhood would be like, and boy is it different. A lot more exhausting and demanding. No matter what my kids’ ages are. If it ever gets easier I’ll let you know. But as cliche as it sounds, it’s rewarding and worth it in ways I didn’t imagine too.
4. Choose your battles wisely
With so much on my plate, I quickly learned that choosing where to spend my energy was crucial. Trying to convince Lee Lee that extra frosting is not a good idea is a waste of time, but teaching my kids the importance of treating others (both in and out of the family) kindly is not.
I choose my battles based on what will serve my kids and my family in the long run (or my sanity in the short run), and that can look different for everyone. Which leads me to my next lesson…
5. There is no one-size-fits-all approach
There are lots of ways to parent, and each person will have a different style and approach depending on the type of child. The divisiveness strikes early striving to stick a wedge between mothers but the truth is no matter how I feed, diaper, school, or rest my child, being confident that it’s the right way for me and my family has been most important.
6. Avoiding the overthinking trap
The Gift Of Failure is one of my favorite books to teach my kids (and myself) that it’s not only ok to fail, but it’s GOOD, it helps us grow and become resilient. This is how we can learn from these failures. As a parent, I’ve tried to protect my kids from the pain that comes with failing, but honestly in our home I’ve seen how it can do more harm than good. Seeing my kids bounce back after a failure is one of the most rewarding experiences as a mother.
7. Trusting my gut
When I first suspected that Jayda was dyslexic, I was tempted to brush it aside. But my gut wouldn’t let me. As I watched her struggle to read, I knew that there was something more to what was happening, and I decided to seek help.
After her diagnosis, Jayda received the resources she needed to thrive even more. I never totally understood the phrase “a mother’s instincts” until I got some of my own.
8. I am my child’s first & best teacher
Teaching our kids about life, diversity, and kindness toward others is so special, and so important. No other person is in a better position to educate children on these matters, and I’ve accepted this as my responsibility.
9. Listening Is My Greatest Tool
Being willing to listen – I mean really listen – to my children’s thoughts, opinions, and wants is something I thought would naturally come easily. At first it kinda did, but as my kids got older, more vocal, and well, I have more of them now. It’s gotten more challenging. But the more I set time aside to spend some one on one time with a book, a chat, or prayer, the more I’m able to slow down and listen to the things on their mind. I feel lucky to have them share their hearts with me and I don’t want to lose that gift.
10. My kids are some of my biggest motivators
My kids inspire me every day. Whether that is working on my goals, trying something new, moving somewhere with more space to grow and explore (thanks, Lee Lee!) Seeing my kids strive to reach their goals makes me want to do the same, not only for them but for myself too!
11. I didn’t lose myself. I evolved
Before I became a mother I worried it would change the parts of myself that I valued most. My drive, my ambition and creativity. My life did change, but the things that make me, me still stand, and I’ve evolved. I’ve become more empathetic, and patient and my drive has blossomed. My ambitions didn’t go away, but they definitely shifted a lot. I think for the better. I’ve come to realize though that life happens in seasons. This right here… This busy time with three kids needing SO much from me. This is a season. It won’t last forever. So I’m trying to lean into that. Cherish it even. And see these days as the good old days.
What lessons have you learned on your parenthood journey? Let me know down below!